As things stand, ten of the twenty Premier League clubs have a British* manager. It was eleven, before Frank Lampard was dismissed by Chelsea, but a 50% ratio of British managers in the top flight still seems…fine? It puts the Premier League on a par with the Bundesliga (where nine of the eighteen managers are German), but behind La Liga (fourteen of twenty), and Ligue 1 (fifteen of twenty).

Not great, not terrible. It might even suggest that the British coaching scene is in good health.

Dig deeper, and maybe things aren’t so rosey however. Just three of those ten managers are in charge of a team in the top-half – Brendan Rodgers at Leicester, David Moyes at West Ham, and Dean Smith at Aston Villa – while five of the other seven are either in a relegation battle, or at least looking over their shoulder.

Perhaps more concerning is that the path to the top jobs in England, those with the ‘so called Big Six ™’, appear almost closed to home-grown managers right now.

This isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon; Big Six opportunities for British managers have been limited for sometimes now. Since the start of the 2010/11 season, just six British managers have been employed by a Big Six club, and three of those were at Liverpool: Roy Hodgson, who was sacked after 190-days, Kenny Dalglish (again), and then Rodgers.

Of the other three managers, Lampard survived the longest (18-months at Chelsea), while Moyes lasted 10-months at Man Utd, and Tim Sherwood(!!!) just six-months at Spurs.

Lampard’s appointment at Chelsea, and the return of Dalglish to Liverpool, may have been somewhat emotional, given their ‘club legend’ status, but both Hodgson, Rodgers, and Moyes seemed to have earnt their chance to manage one of the league’s heavy hitters when they were hired. Hodgson had built up 30-years worth of experience, and took Fulham(!!!) to the Europa League Final. Rodgers helped guide Swansea to the Premier League for the first time, and kept them there on a virtual shoestring before leaving for Anfield. Moyes spent more than a decade at Everton before being hand-picked by Sir Alex Ferguson to be his successor at Old Trafford.

All three departed to a certain level of ridicule however; Rodgers ended up painted as some kind of a David Brent figure, following the Being Liverpool documentary, while Moyes time at Old Trafford is well documented (or should that be ‘derided’?).

Perhaps the reason the Big Six are reluctant to hire a British manager lies in those ‘failures’; the demands for success are high, securing European football is essentially a minimum requirement each year, and thus – outside of those appointments where a previous attachment to a club exists (Lampard, Dalglish, Solskjaer, Arteta) – the Big Six tend to look for managers with ‘top level experience’ to help deliver on those lofty expectations.

In Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool replaced Rodgers with a two-time Bundesliga winner who had also led a team to the Champions League Final. Moyes’ permanent successor at Man Utd, Louis Van Gaal, needs no introduction. Thomas Tuchel arrives at Stamford Bridge having secured silverware in Germany and France, as well as a Champions League runners-up medal. Mention the names ‘Pep’ and ‘Jose’ to football fans, and they’ll instantly know who you are referring to. All had forged a formidable reputation of some sort before arriving in England.

Does it therefore come down to needing to be successful before a Big Six club will come knocking? If so, we’re in chicken-and-egg territory for British managers. On a domestic landscape dominated by the Big Six, experience of winning can be hard to come by.

Since Wimbledon stunned Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup Final, only three non-Big Six sides have won the FA Cup; Everton in 1995, Portsmouth in 2008, and Wigan in 2013. Harry Redknapp remains the last British manager to lift the famous trophy, thanks to that 2008 success.

The EFL Cup has seen some fleeting opportunities for other clubs to enjoy success, but it’s still been nearly a decade since we last saw a British manager win the competition; and that was Dalglish in 2012. The veteran Scot was hardly an ‘up and coming’ managerial prospect at that point in his career, though he remains one of only two British managers to lift the Premier League trophy in it’s 28-year history (the other should be obvious).

With limited prospects of domestic success then, should British managers look to head overseas? It’s an option, though we come back to the same stumbling block – top European clubs need a reason to hire you as well.

Sir Bobby Robson had enjoyed success with Ipswich, and spent eight-years as England manager, before agreeing to join PSV Eindhoven in 1990, but it took Hodgson nearly two decades before he landed his first big job, with Inter Milan in 1995. Graham Potter’s managerial career started in the Swedish fourth tier.

Is the problem therefore more fundamental perhaps? Are the British Football Associations simply failing to equip their coaches for the modern game?

It cannot be a coincidence that Rodgers and Moyes, who both spent time studying in Spain during the early part of their coaching careers, have gone on to be two of the more successful (in relative terms) British coaches of the past twenty years. Those difficult years at Liverpool and Man Utd do not wipe out what Rodgers achieved at Swansea, nor Moyes at Everton, and it certainly doesn’t invalidate the adaptability both have shown in their current roles.

Along with Potter, the pair are drawing on experiences only a limited number of British managers possess, experiences more in tune with the modern game perhaps, from more progressive football cultures.

It’s worth noting that Rodgers, who is probably the best British coach in the game right now, also spent time working under one of the sport’s modern innovators at Chelsea – there’s a reason people in Portugal refer to the pre-Jose and post-Jose eras, much like Italian’s talk about pre-Sacchi and post-Sacchi. English football doesn’t talk about pre-Pulis or post-Allardyce…

British football, not just English, is still seen as more physical – which is fine, in its way – but the question has to be asked if that’s what British coaches are still being raised on. If so, it seems they are being hobbled by the very system that is supposed to help them. The highest level the game has become more technical, more tactical; have we, as a nation, kept up with those trends? Ensured that our next generation(s) of coaches are at the forefront of these changes? Does St George’s Park do for English coaches what Coverciano does for their Italian counterparts?

It is tempting to say that it does not, but then the coaching pool is simply not very deep in England anyway, and a shallow talent pool will always limit what you can catch. Where Spain boasted more 15,000 coaches with UEFA Pro or UEFA A qualifications in 2017, England had less than 1,800. While the FA were charging nearly £4,000 to enroll on a UEFA A license course, Germany charged around €800, and Spain £960.

It’s entirely possible the situation is exacerbated by the different factions at work in the English game – where the DFB and Bundesliga have worked harmoniously since Germany sought to reboot its football programme, following poor performances at France ‘98 and Euro 2000, English football remains locked in a perpetual series of battles between the FA, the Premier League, and the Football League. Those squabbles help no-one.

Maybe someone like Potter can eventually buck the trend, and signal a brave new dawn for British coaches, but it feels unlikely; there is more chance that he will become an outlier than a trend setter.

With limited opportunities to win on home soil, and questionable development of our coaches, the chances that we’ll see a British Pep, Klopp, or Jose are disappointingly slim right now. Considering this is supposed to be the ‘home of football’, we really should be doing better.

*for the purposes of this article, I’ve included Rodgers under the British banner; please accept my apologies, all of Northern Ireland.

ROB McGREGOR – @SamuraiPizzaRob